Lose bodyweight but gain body fat. New years resolutioners predicament.
It’s that time of year again. Millions of new years resolutioners set their sights on shedding the pounds and “keeping it off this time”. They join gyms, fitness programs, hire trainers, start 6 week challenges or re-up on their favorite pyramid schemes supplement line. With the best of intentions in mind, most of these people are doomed to failure before they start, and here’s why…
We’ve been conditioned to believe that the answer is always, losing more weight. Although sometimes this might be necessary, this weight loss goal can often be what holds you back, makes you UNHEALTHIER and kills your chances at ever having long term success.
Here’s a real story about someone I once witnessed participate in a weight loss challenge. For the sake of this story, we will refer to him as Joe. When Joe joined a challenge he was about 75 pounds overweight and incredibly unhealthy. He was however determined to make a change. He knew he could be successful and wanted badly to win. He let the competitive nature of the challenge be his motivation and driving force. Over the course of the challenge, Joe absolutely crushed it!! He lost about 30 pounds and took one of the top spots in the competition. Needless to say, he was thrilled about his results.
So what’s the problem?
At then end of the competition, even though Joe had lost 30 pounds, he went up in his body-fat percentage. You may ask, “How is that even possible”.
Well the thing is, Joe was a fierce competitor in this weight loss challenge. He would workout 3-4 hours a day and eat only around 1200 calories (way, way too few). Then towards the end of the competition, Joe took a few days and “dried out” another 7 pounds of water weight by dehydrating himself. Well it turns out, the long workouts, low calorie diet and dehyradtion caused Joe to lose a TON of lean tissue as well as water weight, but NOT BODY FAT. So even though he didn’t necessarily gain any body-fat, his body-fat percentage ended up going up due to the fact that he had the same amount of fat mass but at a lower body weight. Upon learning about these results he was DEVASTATED.
Within 12 weeks after the challenge Joe was almost back to where he originally started. Now however, Joe seems to gain weight even easier because all that time spent extremely deprived of calories caused his BMR (basal metabolic rate) to drop. So instead of maintaining weight at 2,000 calories a day, he now GAINS weight at 1,800 calories a day!
If this story seems far-fetched, think again. These types of short-term results are what most trainers and gyms love. They make the program look incredibly successful, and then bring in more money when the individual puts all the weight back on. And so the circle continues. Year after year, people just like Joe are successful for a few months, fall off the wagon, and then restart the cycle again next year.
Don’t be a Joe.